Is a Vitamin D Supplement Really Necessary for Breastfed Babies?

10 May 2012 / 0 comments
Category: Vitamins

Shortly after the birth of each of my children, I was advised by my pediatrician to start giving a vitamin D supplement to my baby. She explained that because I exclusively breastfed, that it was mandatory. Did your pediatrician advise you to do the same?

With my first baby, I didn’t even question it, I did as I was told. However, she HATED it. It all just ended up coming right out of her mouth. It stained her clothes and smelled horrible (and made her smell horrible in turn, taking away that DELICIOUS baby smell). Plus, it was FAR too expensive to continue buying when it wasn’t even being swallowed. I asked my mom if she had to give me and my four siblings (that she breastfed exclusively) vitamin D supplements. She said no, she had never heard of it. So I did some research.

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  • Basically what I found out is that because some babies don’t get enough sunlight exposure to meet the daily requirement to prevent rickets, vitamin D supplements are recommended to all exclusively breastfeeding moms to cover anyone who may be deficient. Why just exclusively breastfed babies? Vitamin D is added to formula. Well, why is this only a recent discovery?
  • It depends on what you read. Some breastfeeding websites point out who is making these vitamin supplements: formula companies. They will have you believe it is just a ploy for the formula companies to profit from ALL moms. Seems plausible. But you’ll also read about moms lathering up their babies in sunscreen and keeping them out of the sun all together due to all of the skin cancer scares in recent years.
  • After the birth of my second baby and being told AGAIN to supplement him with vitamin D, I did further research. I read that if the mother was taking a vitamin D supplement, some of that would get to the baby through breastmilk. Great! I was already taking vitamin D.
  • Also, I found a new infant supplement that was JUST vitamin D (two years ago, I was only able to find Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron and Tri-Vi Sol). I asked my pediatrician for a sample of the new D-Vi-Sol so I could “try before I buy.” It smells a lot better. It must taste better too, because more of it stayed in my baby’s mouth. But to be honest with you, once the small sample was gone, I didn’t go out and buy it. Why?

It all comes down to sunlight exposure. Sunlight is the best and easiest way for the body to get the vitamin D it needs. My children and I get the recommended minimum weekly sunlight exposure for our skin type, latitude, skin exposure, etc. My children are both healthy and happy, so that’s all that matters to me.

What does your pediatrician advise? Do you give your baby a vitamin D supplement?

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Written by KTmama

I am a stay-at-home mom of a toddler girl and baby boy. We like to take walks, go to the park, bake, color, visit family and friends... I have a wonderful husband who supports my life dream to stay home with my children. It's not an easy job, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think to be successful at breastfeeding, you need to have a very supportive person you feel comfortable discussing all the trials and tribulations that come along with it. For me, that person is my mom, who also stayed home and nursed me and my four siblings.

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